Margrethe Vestager is the European Commission’s new Executive Vice President for Digital and continues competition duties.
The bringing together of the two areas of responsibility under the Danish politician (pictured below)says much about how the European Union views the interrelationship between these two areas.
Previously as Competition Commissioner, Vestager actions were mostly against likely ‘consumer harms’ – now they will be entangled with Europe’s wider digital welfare.
She said she was “happy for and humbled by the task ahead”.
Matter of interpretation
This has been seen as a remit to stamp on any perceived anti-competitive behaviour by large, mostly US-based platform companies such as Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Netflix.
And on the other hand, foster the development of European digitalisation, and while protecting consumers’ rights.
Vestager has never backed away from taking tough decisions which include preventing some mobile mergers as the commissioner for competition, preferring to bolster competition and choice for consumers, rather than making the market more appealing to investors.
President Trump tweeted about her for fining US companies for underpaying taxes and abuse of market power.
She can expect more of the same as Europe continues to blaze the trail on unfair competition and the collection of data by companies with no regard for the people to whom the data belongs, nor for the purposes it is put to.